An aging population and growing global health threats such as the COVID-19 pandemic necessitate strengthening of the health ecosystem in ASEAN, including the health facilities, human resources in the health sector, and the delivery system of the medical treatments to the customers. Artificial intelligence (AI) can play an important role in delivering better and more affordable healthcare services to over 660 million inhabitants of ASEAN. In addition to healthcare, safety-critical AI is being used in a variety of industries, including chemical and process control, maintenance and predictive analytics, and smart home applications. Robust and trustworthy AI systems are critical to the physical safety and security of people.

The use of AI in Southeast Asia is still nascent.[1] Strengthening the region’s AI ecosystem, data governance, and infrastructure, as well as addressing regulations that inhibit AI development could increase the adoption of AI. Further, thorough research is needed not only to advance cutting edge AI technology in areas such as healthcare and workplace safety, but to ensure the responsible application of AI. Through these efforts, enabling greater use of AI could improve the health and safety of millions of people and support COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.

Against this backdrop, the 2022 Underwriters Laboratories-ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women will focus on AI in health and safety, including the use of AI to bring about positive health or safety outcomes. The prize contest is open to female applicants in two categories (Mid-career and Senior Scientists) who are engaged in research related to AI in health or safety in the region and who may serve as role models for other women working in and pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. Applications are welcome from researchers or lecturers in universities or research institutes as well as from scientists/researchers/experts/technologists/innovators from governmental bodies and private sector or even any environmental activists from Civil Society Organizations (CSO) or Non-Government Organizations (NGO).